How to Use Loose Eye Shadows and Glitters

Hey friends! In one of my recent posts I was chatting through comments with the lovely Pascha from The Posh Blog. I used a loose glitter in that post, and Pascha had asked if I could put something together going through how I use loose shadows and glitters. I was happy to do so!

I don’t have very many loose shadows and glitters (especially in comparison to pressed products), but I think there is something fun about working with a variety of textures and formats. So lets get started, and I hope you find this helpful!

Loose Eyeshadow

There are two ways that I have used loose eye shadows, and they are dry and wet. I’ve chosen to use three loose shadows today including a Black Radiance Loose Shimmer Shadow in Hot Pink, elf’s Mineral Eye Shadow in Outdoorsy, and a Bare Minerals Eye Shadow in Wonder.

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Obviously one of the cons of loose eye shadows is that they can be messy especially if they don’t have a sifter. However one of the great things about these products is that they come with a perfect spot for getting shadow out of the pot and mixing-the lid!


There isn’t much to explain in terms of using a loose shadow dry! You can use them just as you would use any other typical eye shadow. I like to take my brush and dip it into the pot and then tap that product into the lid (or sift product into the lid if there’s a sifter.) That way you don’t have to make a huge mess trying to use product straight from the pot. Then you can swirl and press the shadow into the brush, tap off any excess, and go straight to the eye as is typical.


Another option is to use your loose shadows wet. This can do a couple of things-it can make a somewhat lackluster color much more pigmented or it can give a product a metallic/foiled look.  You can also use certain pressed shadows/pigments wet too in order to boost the intensity although it takes some experimentation to find out which products work best wet. Certain pressed powders do not work well used wet and you can ruin parts of the product if you dip a wet brush into the dry pan.

Mixing Mediums: Using loose shadows wet comes with a few options. You’ll need some type of mixing medium to wet the shadow. I know MAC’s Fix+ is a common option, but since I don’t buy MAC, I like to use either water or a setting spray. These are two very easy options, and both should give you the same effect. You can put water in a little mister bottle or use a few drips right from the sink. Plus if you have a setting spray hanging around that you may not love, try using it to wet your loose shadows or pigments.  For my swatches, I’ve chosen to use the NYX Matte Setting Spray. (As I’ve continued to use this method, I’ve discovered this setting spray works ok to wet some products but doesn’t seem to work as well with others-again, it takes some experimentation.)


Brush: I think a synthetic brush works best for using loose shadows wet. That way the brush isn’t soaking up as much of your product. I like to use flat, firm synthetic brushes.

Order of Operations: Your next options regard the order in which you wet your product/brush. You can either spray your brush with mixing medium and then dip into the shadow OR dip your brush into the shadow and then spray with mixing medium. First, I use the brush or sifter to get product into the lid, and then I give my brush a couple sprays. Then swirl and press the brush into the lid to saturate the brush with product and apply as you normally do. The differences between dry and wet can be seen below. This can bring new life to products you may not have loved before! DSCN3510 DSCN3516 DSCN3519


When it comes to using glitter, you’ll need two things at minimum-glitter and some type of sticky base or glitter adhesive. You can use your fingers or brushes to apply the adhesive and/or glitter. Today I’ve used LIT’s Glitter in Tinsel Town and a purple Pure Ice Glitter (which I’m not sure is actually eye safe, I think it’s meant for nails.)


There are a variety of choices out there for glitter adhesives, and I’ve used two here. They are LIT’s Clearly Liquid Glitter Base and elf’s Glitter Primer both of which have worked well for me. The LIT Glitter base by itself is $22.95, but the elf Glitter Primer is only $2! (I got the LIT Glitter base and glitter from Sephora-they come in kits for $20.) The LIT product is a smooth, clear liquid where elf’s product is a thicker and looks more like glue. They both dry clear. I like the elf adhesive for smaller areas, but I like LIT’S glitter base for larger areas on the lid because it doesn’t crease which the elf adhesive can do. I’ve also heard that Too Faced has a great glitter glue. Some other options include Eye Kandy’s Liquid Sugar and Violet Voss’s Glitter Adhesive.

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I first like to pat a thin layer of glitter where ever I want the glitter to go. Then use your fingers or a brush to pat on your glitter and voila! You can do thin, more sparse layers or really build it up to an opaque look. You may need a little more glitter base if you want an opaque look. I’ve also had to touch up “bald” spots before where I didn’t apply enough product and even going over the existing glitter again with more adhesive has worked fine. Make sure to do your eyes first if you’re using glitter because even with a sticky adhesive, you will most likely have fallout!

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After everything dries and before I do the rest of my face I also like to use a fluffy brush to blend over where ever I’ve put the glitter so any loose glitter that may not have stuck well can be wiped away as to hopefully minimize the amount of glitter fallout through the day.

There we have it- a how to for loose shadows and glitter! I really hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions or comments, I’m always happy to chat with you in the comments below πŸ™‚


45 thoughts on “How to Use Loose Eye Shadows and Glitters

  1. Wow very awesome and informative post! Thanks for putting this together. I use loose shadows (very minimal) almost everyday. Love the glitter tips! πŸ˜€


  2. Great post! thanks for the tips. I only have one pot of pigments from Mac and whenever I apply them, I feel like a queen, or you know what I mean…but I simply sweep them on the eyes, as if they were a common eye shadow and they keep stuck there, or this is the feeling I have…I heard about making a DIY cream blusher with a mixture of moisturizer and loose pigments…I’m looking forward to knowing more about it…cheers


    1. Thanks! Oh heck yes. I can’t image going without a primer anymore (even with things that claim to not need one), but it’s so nice to have something to really help out the loose stuff. And I’ve even used the elf with some pressed products and have loved it so far!


  3. Very useful post!! I had one loose pigment with glitter and I hated to apply it. It was not only on my eyes and face but all over me and room:D


      1. πŸ˜€ That’s why I like how loose eyehshadows look but I try not to look on them online or in stores. They are just everywhere after you use them. So I think you are morally strong person so use them:) You are a master of loose eyeshadows!


  4. I don’t have any loose eyeshadow but still find this a very helpful post in case I get some in the future πŸ™‚ The differences between the wet and dry swatches are amazing!


    1. I totally know what you mean-my eyes are really grumpy when even the tiniest thing gets in them, but so far I haven’t had any issues with glitter surprisingly! I need to use shadows wet more for sure πŸ™‚


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